Gut Healing: That Process You Shouldn't Ignore
Your intestines are home to over 40 trillion types of bacteria, both good and bad. Each species plays a role in deciding the outcome of your health. In order to keep your gut healthy, you need to consume a nutrient-rich diet for the good bacteria to sustain and grow.
Your gut is in charge of putting your body in working condition as it breaks down the food you eat and absorbs vital nutrients. This is why you need to be careful of the things you eat, and take gut healing seriously, as your gut needs to be balanced in order to function effectively.
Signs your gut needs help
1. Common digestive issues
Bloating, heartburn, gas, constipation, or diarrhea are very common digestive issues. Indigestion or a 'leaky gut' can happen when there is an imbalance of beneficial bacteria in your gut. During indigestion, your stomach finds it difficult to process everything you eat. So, watch for these early signs and take the necessary measures to come back on track.
2. Significant weight changes
Gaining or losing significant amounts of weight can be one of the signs of an unhealthy gut. This usually happens out of the ordinary without any changes in your diet or exercise routine. A gut microbiome that is out of sync can affect how your body absorbs nutrients, stores, and burns fat. Significant weight changes can also be a sign of underlying health issues like thyroid or cancer. It would be advisable to consult with your doctor before taking any added measures.
3. Sugar cravings
When you eat a lot of processed foods, which are high in sugar, it can mess with the bacteria in your stomach. This can cause you to crave even more sugar, creating a vicious cycle. A diet that is full of refined sugars can lead to inflammation and health complications like fatty liver disease.
4. Insomnia and sleep disorders
An unhealthy gut can disturb your body's regular rest cycles, causing insomnia or chronic fatigue. This is because serotonin, your body's natural sleep draught, is largely produced in the stomach. This is why not taking care of your gut can also stop you from getting a good night's rest.
5. Chronic Fatigue
Feeling tired after missing out on your sleep or after a stressful event is completely understandable. However, ongoing fatigue without any apparent cause can be a sign of a complex issue. When you have poor gut health, your gut finds it harder to absorb the nutrients in your food effectively. This results in lower levels of overall energy and is likely to make you feel constantly tired. While caffeine and sugar may seem like obvious fixes, they do much more damage to your health in the long run. Turn to foods high in fiber and more pre and probiotics to bring your system back into shape.
What can you do?
1. Change your diet
Cut out refined sugars, and foods that are highly processed or high in fat. Adopt more plant-based whole foods and lean proteins which include more fiber.
2. Hydrate yourself
Without proper hydration, the mucous lining of your digestive system can suffer, triggering inflammation. Make sure to drink your daily recommendation of water every day (approximately 2.7 liters for women and 3.7 liters for men).
3. Prebiotics and probiotics
Consider adding prebiotic and probiotic supplements to your diet. This can help repair the damage done to the bacterial ecosystem in your gut.
4. De-stress regularly
Chronic stress increases the body's production of cortisol which can result in negative implications on your health. This is because during a stress response, cortisol aids in moving blood to the brain rather than the gut and digestive tract. This may lead to weight gain, diabetes, or reduced levels of energy. If you're regularly stressed out, take some time out for a little guided meditation, yoga, go for a walk, spend time with friends and family.
5. Get more sleep
It's not just the food you eat, your sleep patterns can also affect your gut health. Cut out the all-nighters and try to avoid unnecessary late nights. If you're having trouble sleeping, try to leave a longer period between your dinner and bedtime and avoid screen time late at night to get your gut healing process on track.
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